Humanitarian workers need to visit brothels, apparently.

(57 Posts)
IPityThePontipines Sat 02-May-15 13:17:11

This might have been covered here already, but in the wake of UN worker in CAR being linked to child abuse, here is an atrocious article about humanitarians' "need" for sex.
http://www.theguardian.com/global-development-professionals-network/2014/jul/10/humanitarian-workers-sex-global-development

By humanitarians, they of course mean male humanitarians and by sex, they include organising a staff trip to a brothel.

GoatsDoRoam Sat 02-May-15 16:28:23

Reading that article is surreal: the authors are so focused on the logistics of obtaining sex for foreign aid workers, and completely ignore the ethics.

Just bizarre. And gross.

ApocalypseThen Sat 02-May-15 16:41:38

Well you can't be a humanitarian 24 hours a day. At some point, you hang up your humanitarian hat and treat women like commodities.

TheVeryHungryPreggo Sat 02-May-15 16:45:19

Maybe they should drop the hu- from humanitarian...

cruikshank Sat 02-May-15 16:47:50

I'll read the article in a minute but tbh it wouldn't surprise me - I really had my eyes opened during the days I was doing NGO work and also with the subsequent discovery years later of what some of the people I was working with were up to. There was a lot of married men having a local 'girlfriend' - ie having regular sex with someone and treating their family differently to other families because they were having sex with them - more food, better living conditions etc. This meant of course that local women were desperate to get 'girlfriend' status. Even those who weren't quite so generous with their financial favours thought it par for the course to have a person to shag while they were away from their wives - they totally took advantage of the unequal financial status of the people we were supposedly supporting. And then, years later, it transpired that a couple of the men, doing supposedly humanitarian work, were having sex with refugee children. The whole thing is fucking sickening.

I think how it goes is that war zones and places where law and order has broken down attracts a certain amount of flotsam and jetsam, because there are no repercussions for behaviour that they would, quite rightly, not get away with in more 'developed' nations. Incidentally, for any of you thinking of donating to NGOs, the one honourable exception to any of this were the workers from MSF. But everyone else, from tiny charities run on a shoe-string to larger concerns, to govt employees, had a certain proportion of people who were, to be frank, acting like fucking dogs on heat.

CollatalieSisters Sat 02-May-15 16:47:54

They don't quite ignore the ethical issues. They first mention that there are some, and then ignore them in favour of worrying about the practicalities of getting men to brothels. Clearly a more important thing to worry about. It's sickening.

cruikshank Sat 02-May-15 17:02:38

Sorry, that should not read 'having sex with' - it should be 'raping' because that is what they were doing.

YonicScrewdriver Sat 02-May-15 17:11:10

Cruikshank, thanks for your post.

mipogaxx Sat 02-May-15 17:12:41

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

WhirlpoolGalaxyM51 Sat 02-May-15 17:19:42

That article is mind-boggling.

I don't know where to start really.

It's always the same old isn't it. Depressing.

GinAndSonic Sat 02-May-15 19:21:41

I really dont have anything for this. Its fucking appauling.

GoatsDoRoam Sat 02-May-15 21:12:20

yy craikshank

Re: the articles title "Why it's time to talk about humanitarian's sex lives", perhaps the answer to give is: Because a lot of westerners in developing countries are people who would be nobodies at home, but put them in a place where they have vastly more economic, social and political power than the locals, and they sadly feel entitled to sex with vulnerable women and children as part of the package.

cruikshank Sun 03-May-15 00:23:02

I would whole-heartedly agree with that, GoatsDoRoam. Don't get me wrong, there were good people as well. But, even (or especially) at high-up levels, I saw a lot of sexual exploitation, and it was just nodded at, like it was a given.

IPityThePontipines Sun 03-May-15 01:39:52

It is the most jaw-dropping article I have read for quite some time. The matter of fact way going to a brothel is described, even though the brothel will almost certainly be filled with prostituted women. This sheer entitlement that you have the right to abuse someone, otherwise you are being unfairly deprived, it's horrific.

Even if, for argument's sake, someone believes there are circumstances where women do have sex for money without coercion, those circumstances will not be the case in a war zone/disaster area.

I wonder if this sort of thinking is what influenced that appalling Amnesty policy change in prostitution?

GoatsDoRoam Sun 03-May-15 08:16:23

Yes, it's just another expression of the generalised belief that sex and reproduction is what women are for, Pontipines. And so when you decide to only view it functional terms, with a power imbalance thrown into the mix, then men's desire for sex can therefore take precedence over (prostituted) women's humanity.

sassandfaff Sun 03-May-15 13:55:10

. Follow up letters about the original article

sassandfaff Sun 03-May-15 13:55:53

www.theguardian.com/global-development-professionals-network/2014/jul/16/humanitarians-sex-workers-ethics

Maliceaforethought Sun 03-May-15 14:14:06

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

almondcakes Sun 03-May-15 14:24:48

This is a last straw for me.

I have lost all faith that we are making any kind of progress.

Humanitarian aid, my arse. This is no different from sleeping dictionaries.

Heckler Sun 03-May-15 15:47:04

That article is horrific.

You know when our armed forces are deployed to bastion, there is a complete no fratenisation rule, even amongst already married couples. If they can cope with it without exploding testicles, I am pretty sure aid workers can too.

AskBasil Sun 03-May-15 22:05:22

Oh Gawd.

I've got direct debits to Unicef and Water Aid.

Are they shit, cruikshank?

If so, might just re-direct everything to Refuge and Rape Crisis

PourquoiTuGachesTaVie Sun 03-May-15 22:23:54

I'm really shocked by this. It's disgusting. And I#ve been incredibly naive, it never crossed my mind that a humanitarian worker would act this way.

GoatsDoRoam Sun 03-May-15 23:40:56

Yes, even sainted humanitarian aid workers exist in the context of patriarchy. Aid workers can find they wield power in very deprived countries. And in a patriarchy, a favourite way to express power has always been by abusing women and girls.

An acquaintance of mine worked as a nurse on a humanitarian aid mission in DR Congo in her early 20s (she is now in her 60s). She tells me that children in orphanages there were being prostituted for and by humanitarian aid workers. (She adopted her daughter from there in order to remove her from this prostitution ring in the only way she felt able at the time).

That's what patriarchy does: everything becomes about domination and entitlement, and women's bodies are the spoils of power. Colonialism, sexism,... it's the same basic dynamic, and both are at play here.

paxtecum Mon 04-May-15 11:58:59

There is evidence that some men turn to each other for sex when there is no other option, ie South African mine workers and sub mariners.
It seems that some men are unable to do without sex.

Please note that I have stated 'some' men.

GoatsDoRoam Mon 04-May-15 12:39:20

No-one has ever died from lack of sex.

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